Getting yourself noticed locally – Media
Despite the fact that it is very difficult to get the attention of the mainstream media, I still believe that you should make every effort to get your book noticed. If you have done everything right – well written, edited, formatted and produced either in print, E-book or both, then it deserves your best shot.
I interviewed many authors on my Sunday Morning Radio show and one of the elements to a book that really gets the attention of the press and radio, is if the book has a local connection. With a story that is set in the area or a history book about the area or a well known character from the area. This also applies on a wider scale, and certainly it does not harm your chances if you mention Ireland or something Irish in the title or taglines.
Sending out press releases to your local press and radio.
There are certainly a couple of things to consider when marketing your book, and one of those is cost. Most self-publishing companies are not going to do your marketing for you. You can pay quite a bit of money to a PR firm to compose and send out press releases to their contacts, and if you feel you will get a return on your money, then it is probably the most effective way to go. They will compose your release and then direct it to specific contacts in the media who would be most interested in your genre or books in general. And, because they are a recognised PR firm they are likely to get it as far as the journalist in question.
Unfortunately today, unless you have a high profile name – either author or celebrity, your press release about your book, that you send in your own name, is unlikely to get past first base. Short of changing your name by deed poll to J.K. Rowling, you are going to have to make sure that both the subject line of your email and the title of your book intrigues.
How can they find out more about you?
These days it is important to have created some form of digital footprint so that if you peak someone in the media’s interest, they have access to information about you and your book before they consider contacting you.
I suggest that you use the usual social media – including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as well as your own website or webpage. You notice that I put LinkedIn first as I use this one primarily for work and business related posts and my profile is geared towards my professional career rather than the more personal one on Facebook.
It is very important that you have an Amazon Author Page.. with a well thought out biography that is relevant to your profession which is a writer. Even if at this stage you only have one book… there will be others and if you do not have a website or blog this is a point of reference that someone searching for information is going to be checking.
You can also expect to be Googled.. This is where having an online presence, blog, social media and also interviews that you have done on other authors websites will be picked up.
Do make use of your contacts Never, be afraid to ask your contacts on any of your social media sites for help. Your contacts may in turn have someone they are connected to who might be able to help get your book noticed. There are also groups on both Facebook and LinkedIn that may be interested in the subject or the genre of your book. There are also groups of self-published authors and those who will promote your book for free.
You are reading this on a blog that has several ways that you can promote your books and also be interviewed.
With any press release I suggest that you start locally, as I mentioned before the nationals will pick up on good stories that have attracted attention at a local level. However, if you decide to go for the nationals at the same time make sure you have researched the individual journalists or columnists who would be appropriate for your book subject.
You can find most of the information regarding local and national journalists online at the contact page for the publication or radio station and you can then send a personalised release.
If you are sending your press release out en masse, then make sure you bcc the email addresses, it is very annoying to find your email address plastered all over an general email. Also your server may block multiple emails as spam and I usually keep emails to four or five addressees at a time. I also like to track response to those I send out and then tweak my press release if needed.
Also do not send an attachment as this can be bounced. Instead include everything in the body of your email. You can create in a word document with your book cover pasted in and the body of your press release. Remember this is a sales message however, that requires a call to action, so first and foremost you need to have a an attention grabbing headline for the subject box.
Think about what might make this journalist who receives hundreds if not thousands of emails per week to open yours. Is there a topical link to current news – what is the Unique selling point of your book and your title. Dogs are loved the world over so to use as an example this press release is for Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story.
Make it easy for them to find information out about you and your book and to contact you if they wish to. Keep the body of the press release to fewer than 500 words. You can expand on this if you put together a CV version to send out with books by post or in person. (mine below).
Press releases are usually written in the third person.
The body of the press release expands on the Who- Why – What – When- Where and How of your book. Front cover, back blurb – emphasise any unique points that makes your book different from anyone else. Remember that editors and presenters are likely to see hundreds of emails and if you want yours to stand out it needs to be as interesting as possible.
Repeat details about yourself with links to websites include the exact URL and if you have a web page or blog then link to that too.
Make sure that you have all the relevant contact details so that you can be reached to take the issue further.
Press Release: Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story by Sally Cronin – A book for all dog lovers – Published October 5th (not the actual date of Sam’s book)
About Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story
The true story of Sam, a rough collie, written from his perspective. A tribute to a true friend and a genuine family member. Millions of families around the world believe that their pet, dog or cat, is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right.
Sam shares his life, from three weeks old when he is chosen by his new mistress, through his early years living in rural Ireland with his best friend Henry, a feral and very smelly old cat. Then he tells the story of his adventure crossing Europe, driving two thousand kilometres to his new home in the mountains of Spain, where he discovers new friends and adventures.
He describes his life articulately, and with wry humour, and on occasion deigns to speak; emphasising his need for cheese and hard boiled eggs.
One of the early reviews for the book (ask someone you trust to do an editorial review for the book so you can use on publication for marketing purposes until you have received other reviews)
Meet Sam and you’ll know why a dog is man’s best friend. Being the owner of a dog for the first time in my life I greatly appreciated Sam’s viewpoint on different aspects of a dog’s life ranging from dog language, going to the vet, car trips, walks, friends, love at first sight, scents, food and, most importantly, being head of security.
The book reads like a personal memoir with photos of the author, her homes in Ireland and Spain, the beaches and, of course, beautiful Sam . It is a pleasant, gentle read that warmed my heart. As far as the type of books where dogs are the protagonist Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story is a delightful read.
Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story is available from all online bookstores including Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sam-Shaggy-Story-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B00GM0HPQE
Review copy available on request.
Also by Sally Cronin
Available Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6
About the author Sally Georgina Cronin – Wexford, Ireland
Sally Cronin is an effective communicator, project manager and coach with over thirty-five years’ experience at a senior level within key industries in Ireland, UK and Spain including: Hospitality, Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Nutrition and Multi- Media broadcasting. Published author since 2001 with 11 titles in print and E books. Blogger of health and lifestyle topics which receives over 200,000 views a year and an established presence on key social media sites of 45,000 followers.
Availability for interview by Skype, landline or locally in person.
Mobile Telephone: XXXXXXXXXX
Any further information please contact or refer to the following websites.
Press Release End.
Once you have prepared in word, check and double check. Spelling, grammar, contact details etc. Then get other people to read it. Did it interest them? Did it read well?
Do not be disappointed if you do not get a call back or a response. You are competing with many other press releases on every subject. Quite a few will be from other authors with requests for interviews or even a mention. This is another reason to start locally as there are less likely to be as many authors promoting their books at the same time.
After a week follow up your press release by a phone call to the person you sent it too. If you get put through, remind them who you are and that your press release was regarding you latest book by name.(they may have had 30 such emails). and that you wondered if they had any questions they would like to ask you about the book. Either they will tell you they are not interested or they will offer you an interview…..
Also whilst there is an accepted format for press releases, the purpose is to attract some attention and thinking outside the box may just do that. Images of yourself and your book cover should always be included but remember not to attach.. always insert into the email in the body of the press release.
You need to do your research to find the right person to direct your press release to, so focus on a radius of around 20 kilometres of your home town. If you want to send your press release to a wider audience, then you might consider a press release distribution website.. here is one link mainly for the USA.. but there are others in the UK.
Dropping in with your book and your Press Release Personally.
I found that the most effective method of getting your book and your press release noticed is to drop them off personally. A physical copy in their hands is much more difficult to say not to!
I was living in Spain when my first book Size Matters was published and I dropped it off at the local English speaking radio Station.. Whilst I was chatting to the receptionist the morning show presenter Kelli Brett came in, frustrated because her guest – a famous male ballet dancer had decided not to turn up.. She asked if I would like to go on her show to talk about my book. I leapt at the chance and as a result I became the show’s health consultant for four years, and let to me also editing and presenting the Short Story Competition for two years.
When I was back living in the UK to look after my mother, I dropped Just Food for Health off at the local station in Portsmouth, and after the first interview I ended up with two shows a week, including the Sunday Morning show, and co-presented Drive Time twice a week for two years.
Dropping in works with bookshops too.
One of the questions that you are likely to be asked in an interview in the paper or on radio is ” Where is your book available”. It is very helpful to have at least one bookshop in your local area carrying your books, and the more the better. I have found it useful to call in with one of the books and ask if they will place it on the counter and if it sells to take more. Some chain bookstores will have a central buyer, but for small indie bookshops you should find the owner or manager more than happy to help you.
They may take more if you happen to mention that you are hoping to be interviewed in the local paper and on radio and that they would love to mention their shop for people to buy.
Be aware that most bookshops will take 30 to 40% commission on books they sell and some can be a bit slow to pay.. But if you have more than one book they may also take others depending on the sales of the current one.
You can also look at other outlets too. For example my family health book was sold through Hair and Beauty Salons where mums would be sitting in the waiting room One of the health books was on the magazine table with a label saying available at the reception desk for £15. The salon took £5..I also had copies in two dentists and they sold a number of copies. The book is A4 with 360 pages so is heavy. Buying direct saves readers the postage they would have to pay buying through Amazon.
A final few words
When approaching radio stations it is important that you include any experience you have had as a public speaker or previous radio or television interviews. This will give them confidence that you will give a good interview for their audience.
Do not forget about local online news sites – I expect your area has one or two that are very popular and would be delighted to do an interview or publish and article about you.
Next week – preparing for an interview on radio –Your press release or personal approach has been noticed and you get the call.
I hope this has been useful and of course look forward to your feedback.. thanks Sally.